Summary of Winning Minds

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Winning Minds book summary


8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


Speechwriter Simon Lancaster regards leadership primarily as having a talent for knowing how to persuade and manipulate listeners’ neurotransmitters. In this irreverent look at the art of persuasion, he argues that winning people’s support requires satisfying their craving for brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin, which boost feelings of confidence, well-being and social connection. But to do so, you must engage all the levels of the brain: “the instinctive, the emotional and the logical.” Lancaster outlines the rhetorical tactics that leaders from Aristotle to Steve Jobs used to stir their listeners’ instincts, fire up their emotions and impress their intellect. Simon Lancaster, who worked for CEOs and members of UK prime minister Tony Blair’s cabinet, backs up his advice with real-world examples. His emphasis on brain chemicals seems a little pat – but functions as a useful metaphor. getAbstract recommends his amusing manual to teachers, salespeople, speechwriters, business communicators and public relations professionals.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why communication is the heart of leadership;
  • Why effective leaders must engage their followers’ “instinctive, emotional and logical” levels of thought; and
  • What rhetorical devices you can use to appeal to each level.

About the Author

Simon Lancaster is a speechwriter who has worked for members of the UK government and for the CEOs of companies such as HSBC and Unilever. He lectures at Cambridge University and prominent business schools, and provides commentary for television.



The Language of Leadership
To lead effectively, you must communicate well. Communicating is tricky because the brain is complicated. It has three major parts – the “instinctive brain,” the “emotional brain” and the “logical brain” – each with its own way of perceiving the world. You must...

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    Sandra Kessler 2 years ago
    Nice book
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    Ann Michels 3 years ago
    This made sense as it was to "the point". 
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    Sarah Dumas 3 years ago
    Loved this! Gave me a new perspective on connecting with my audience. Everyone should hear this. Will definitely purchase this book.

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